31 October 2012

Offensive characters

Lately, in preparation for writing my nanowrimo novel, I've been talking a bit with people about historical fiction.  If you write about people from the past, they will have realistically have attitudes that don't sit really today.  Society was a lot more racist and sexist than it is today.

The example most people use is writing about American's South pre-civil war.  If you ask any sane person today, they'd say slavery is wrong.  Fullstop.  But if you wrote of a person living in that society, they will most likely be pro-slavery.  Does that make the character unsympathetic?  Would you read a book with a pro-slavery protagonist?

Does it make a difference if it's a book like say Gone with the Wind, where the main characters profit from slavery even though the gritty details are skimmed over?  

If a book is set in modern times but is about say the head of fashion house would you view it in the same way?  Even if it's not explicitly stated, they too are profiting from the exploitation of others via sweat shop labour. 

Can you like a character even if you hate their moral values?

28 October 2012

Peep Show

I posted this on my old blog many years ago and thought I'd repost here for your reading pleasure.

Every single time I walk down Swanston Street with Tim, one of us says - let's go to the $2 Peep Show and the other responds yeah, one day. We'd gotten to the door several times then chickened out.

Last night, brave and befuddled on a few too many pints, we got outside the Peep Show and looked at each other in mischevious concensus.

We've got to to do it.

It's now or never.

Inside the door, a bored gentleman sat at his counter collecting money for the cinema. He grunted and nodded his head toward the stairs.

Upstairs, in the adult magazine and toy alcove, the boy behind the counter told us there was a 5 minute wait. So we huddled next to the rack of plastic-wrapped magazines to count out our $2 coins. We didn't have any. Tim wanted to run down the street and get some. As if I was going to wait in the peep show alcove alone. There were some very scary trench-coated men hovering around.

It took a while, but my drunken brain finally realised that - der, the man at the counter would have change.

We combined all our coinage and ended up with about $12 in $2 coins. And it was time for the show to begin.

Outside the phone-box sized booth was a sign One Person Per Booth. We ignored that and crammed inside. We put our coins in the slot and waited for the screen in front of us to lower but instead a porn movie started playing on the tiny monitor below. Boy, did we feel ripped off.

Eventually, we found the other coin slot, the one for the live show. Tim wanted to wait for our coins to run out on the porn movie first, being being economically responsible. But the porn just kept going and going with a repetitive monotony and I wanted the live show.

We can watch porn any time, I hissed. Put the coins in. (Note, I can't and don't watch porn any time but, in theory I could).

The $2 Peep Show is such a gyp. You have to put in 2 x $2. That isn't a $2 Peep Show, that's a $4 Peep Show. It is completely false advertising.

Tim put the coins in the right slot and the screen disappered. The show was happening. A girl, with toys, writhed on the bed in front of us.

I don't think I need to go into all the gory details here as I'm sure you can imagine what was happening. If not, then go invest your own $4 and find out.

But, I must say, it was the most joyless, unerotic thing I've ever seen in my life. How do people get off on that kind of thing? The girl had an expression that said...when the hell does my shift finish so I can get the hell out of here? Seriously, I've worked in factories where people working on a production line at 6.00am in the morning have had more enjoyment in their work than that girl. A smile doesn't cost anything.

Then the screen came down and we were in darkness again.

Tim squatted down and groped on the floor between my legs. I freaked out. Was he in the throes of some kind of wierd-arsed sexual self-gratificiation after his first live encounter with hetrosexual self-pleasure? Was he so aroused that he could no longer contain himself? Should I leave him alone for a minute or two?

No, he'd dropped one of the coins.

Shit, I whispered. Where is it?

I think it went in the bin, he replied.

I reached down to check the bin. It was wet. I screamed as only a woman finding a wet spot in a $2 Peep Show booth can scream. Suddenly, my amusement turned to horror as the reality of the situation dawned on me. The booth was a sperm-splattered cavern, closing in around me.

Tim kept rumaging on the floor for our coin, while I slapped him around. Don't worry about the money, Tim. Slap, slap. We don't need it that much. Slap, slap. Let's just get out of this sperm hole. Slap, slap.

Then he found the coin. We decided we may as well use up the last $4 and put it in the slot, while I tried to stand well clear of the walls and not touch anything.

The screen disappeared again, and the girl was doing more of the same. Legs up, legs down, legs up, legs down. It was like watching Aerobics Oz Style almost.

The screen lowered again and it was time to go.

We ran out onto the street then Tim looked at me. Well we can cross that one off our "to-do" list.

26 October 2012

Playing Office

Last night I tidied up my desk (actually it's a table) and surrounding area to get it all nice and organised for when Nanowrimo starts next week. 

Also, because I want to stop sitting on the couch using my laptop because that causes all kinds of aches and pains.

I sorted stuff out and put all the non-writing books on the bookshelf in the other room.  Then I got my pens out and my Sakurai Sho clear file and my Secret Garden clear file all nicely laid out.  It reminded me of when I was a kid, how I used to play "office".

The way you played office was gathering all the awesome stationery that you could get your hands on then lining it up neatly on your desk then sitting there with nothing to do because you didn't really know what people did in an office.

After many years of office work, I haven't really advanced much beyond that.

Anyone else doing nanowrimo?  Stationery is the main thing, right.

24 October 2012

Lacey Knickers and other pen names

When I first started writing erotica, I thought about using a pen name.  I think the most compelling reason for me not was vanity.  I felt proud of what I'd written and happy to put my name to it.

I do feel disappointed sometimes though that I didn't take the opportunity to give myself a racy, porn star-esque pen name.

Lacey Knickers or something like it.  It's got a nice ring to it.

There are a number of reasons that people use pen names. Wanting to protect their privacy, fear of prejudice by current or future employers, not wanting family and friends to know you write smut.

When you write erotica, and I'm talking here about consensual sex between adults, what are you really saying?  That you have done it.  That you think about and enjoy sex.

What's wrong with that? Seems pretty normal to me.  If you have a kid, you are pretty much saying the same thing but you don't see people having a pen name for being a parent.

It doesn't mean you are a sex maniac.  It doesn't mean you can't be a good teacher or a good office worker or a good traffic controller.  In fact, the only job where writing erotica should be a strike against you is being a nun (or priest).

People write about murder and rape and drug taking and all kinds of illegal activities under their own name without it being used against them yet do you want someone who's thinking about the best way to cut up a body working along side you?

22 October 2012

Beginners' Guide to Love Hotels

Sex, death and sky tree

Love hotels - they aren't all Hello Kitty theme rooms but they sure are a lot of fun.  I've known a few people who've said they never saw a love hotel on their visit to Japan but they probably didn't know what to look for.

In a country where kids often live at home until they are married - an a home with very thin walls at that - love hotels are an essential.  For the adult kids and the even more adult parents.

Love hotels are a dangerous temptation for me.  It's not like I'd go to a love hotel every time a guy asked me but if they are in that grey area of yes/no/maybe, the thought of exploring another love hotel might just push me over the edge.

How to find a love hotel:

In Tokyo, there are certain districts that known for their love hotels.  Love Hotel Hill in Shibuya is the most famous but the area with the highest number of love hotels is Uguisudani (near Ueno).  I'm not sure if that's because it's close to the former Yoshiwara pleasure district or some other reason.

The Uguisudani area has a seedy feel to it with blocks and blocks filled with love hotels.  For some reason, a lot go for a South East Asian feel.

Despite the seediness and the feeling that some dodgy business is happening around you, you don't get hassled.

Outside of the main areas, it's easy to spot love hotels.  They are the places that offer rates for a "short rest" or a "long rest".  Tip: avoid guys who go for the short rest!  They often have weird, cutesy English names too.

What to expect:

I've never done the financial transaction side of things, so I can't tell you how that works.  A lot of places have a board with pictures of the room so you can select which one you want.  Some places are automated but others have human staff.

Several of the places I've been to have a twee waiting room for ladies while you wait, with lace curtains to protect your privacy.

The rooms themselves can vary greatly.  One place I went to offered a room with grand piano.  There are places set up with medical or BDSM themes and then just plain rooms.  Mostly the rooms are very spacious (I did go to one with a room the size of a broom closet).  You might get a karaoke machine or other entertainment in your room.  Skip the porn channel though.  Japanese porn is bad -- and all the good bits are pixelated.

Most love hotels give you a huge array of toiletries to use.  Much more than you'd get in your standard hotel room.  Full skin care ranges for men and women as well as shampoos and other goodies.  

Naturally, all rooms have a bathroom.  Japanese people tend to be fastidious about showering before and after sex plus bathrooms can be fun!

Love hotel facts:

Saturday afternoons are prime time for love hotels.  You might have to wait for a room unless you have a booking.  Yes, you can book ahead!  It makes sense when you think about it.  Teenagers can tell their parents they are studying with friends, married couples can say they are going out shopping and get away from their kids and in-laws, cheaters can claim work or hobby time.

Love hotels have point cards.  You can get awesome rewards like electronic appliances (of the home, not sexual, kind) and other goods.  Some love hotels have discount times or days when you use them or give you a coupon to get a discount if you return.  Apparently some even have "lucky" rooms where you can get extra points.

Seedy love hotel room - I wanted the premium room with the grand piano!

You can order in food or take your own snacks and drinks.

Most love hotels have security cameras pointed at the doors (not inside the room but in the corridor).  If you are with someone you don't know well, make sure you get them recorded on the camera for your own safety.  Also, if they see your partner leave the room alone, they will call the room to make sure you are okay.  There really isn't much reason to leave the room mid-visit.  Most hotels, as mentioned above, will bring food, drinks, even cigarettes or more condoms to your room.  Of course, it's important to be careful and protect your own safety.

Love hotel districts tend to have really awesome yakitori stands.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe people need to have some protein to regain their strength after a full-on bonking session.

Love hotels aren't seen as particularly seedy or shameful in Japan.  It's a normal part of life and a lot more considerate than subjecting your family, housemates or neighbours to the noise of a loud session of hawt sex.

"Lingerie" vending machine.  Not, I think, one of the infamous used knicker machines, but just for a change of underwear before you head back to the office.  I might be wrong though...

Have you ever been to a love hotel?  Would you like to visit one?

20 October 2012

How I was almost in a porn movie

So, one night at a BDSM club, I met this guy and we got talking. 

It was my first time at this club - well at any kind of club like that and I didn't know much about anything really.  The guy was a regular and happy to fill me in on all the rules and ettiquette about the place.

He was really into trampling which, if you don't know, is a fetish where you get off on people walking over you.  This guy was really into it.  He'd bought along his own trampling board, a kind of set-up with handles so the trampler can balance.

He kept asking me to give it a go.  The idea didn't really do much for me so I declined.  I kept declining then he said he'd buy me a drink if I tried it.  A free drink just for walking on someone - I'm sold.

Here's a tip in case you are in the same situation - put the drink down before you try it.  Trying to balance on wobbly flesh with a drink in your hand is really difficult and you'll probably spill some and then it will be even harder to balance because it's slippery, wobbly flesh.

I met him at clubs a few times after that and we got to messaging each other online.  Because I'd trampled him once, he got to thinking I was really into it. 

I get into trouble with that.  I have a bit of an obsession about fetishes.  I find them fascinating but in a non-sexual, idle curiosity kind of way.  If someone says "you might find this a bit odd but..." then I have a thousand questions.  "What exactly do you do?" and "What about that turns you on?" and "How did you realise you were into this in the first place?"

With some guys, this curiosity is read as being totally down with it.  I had a guy want to fly me to England once for some kinky balloon time.  Note: I am terrified of balloons.  He tried to tell me that my fear was another form of wanting it!  Nope, those balloons are going to burst and scare the shit out of me.

So anyway, trampling guy and I got friendly.  In an non-sexual way.  To me, he was like an old, kind of crazy uncle. 

Then one day he told me he wanted to make trampling pay-per-view videos and post them on the internet - set up this whole business.   He asked me if I would be in on it.  I wouldn't have to have my face or anything identifying on camera and he told me it would involve shoe shopping. 

I agreed.   Shoes plus a chance to be in a porn movie!  Why not?

Then it dragged on for months.  Who'd think there was so much politics and shit going on in the trampling scene?  Surely being alpha male in scene like that is counter-productive. 

Anyway, trampling guy ended up meeting a woman, a Dom, who didn't want him making the videos or tramping his trampling around town.  My porn career ended before it even begun but it was  nice to have my vanity about my very sexy feet(and ankles) confirmed.

19 October 2012

Full Stops

Full stops, they are pretty important in writing.  Unless you are a poet or experimenting with grammar forms, you use them without thinking.

Recently, I found out using a full stop in a status or comment on social media is a thing.  Not a punctuation thing but as though you are making an emphatic statement.  As in "I am leaving now FULL STOP"  or "that's okay FULL STOP" (but it isn't really okay at all).

Have I been out of the loop here?  Did everyone else know about this but me or is it weird?  I use full stops as punctuation not to express emotions.  Maybe I'm just getting old.

16 October 2012

Writing again

Way back, before I ever went to Japan or started studying Japanese, I used to write a lot.  I wrote a novel - that never got published, and lots of short stories that did.

Then I started learning Japan and stopped writing.  It was like that bit of my brain that processed language type stuff had limited space and something had to be thrown out.  So it got all mushed up with Japanese words like desu and niji and conbini*.

Since I decided not to sit the JLPT, I've found myself writing again.  It's awesome.

I also found I had a few books that I'd contributed to on Amazon so set an author page

At the moment, I'm thinking of compiling a collection of short stories I've written and had published elsewhere as an ebook.  I figure I have nothing to loss and might even make a few bucks to buy pretty writing pens and such.  Not notebook - I have ENOUGH notebooks to last for a long time.

I'm finishing off a few things I've had half written on my hard drive for years and want to start a new novel.  I've got two competing novel ideas.  One has a pretty funny (to me) concept but I'm not sure if it's going to work and the other is less funny but maybe easier to write.